The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared Hope Uzodimma as the winner of the Imo State governorship election held on Saturday. The results, announced by the state Returning Officer, Prof. Abayomi Fasina, and Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, revealed Uzodimma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) securing victory with 540,308 votes.
The closest contender, Samuel Anyanwu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), trailed significantly with a total of 71,503 votes. Athan Achonu of the Labour Party secured the third position with 64,081 votes, while Anthony Ejiogu of the All Progressives Grand Alliance came fourth with 6,392 votes. Jack Ogunewe of the Action Alliance rounded up the top five with 5,756 votes.
Prof. Abayomi Fasina, the Returning Officer, officially declared Uzodimma as the winner, stating, “That the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Good Hope Uzodimma, having scored the highest number of votes and satisfied the requirements of the law, is hereby declared the winner of the election and returned elected.”
The results indicated a clean sweep for Uzodimma across all 27 Local Government Areas of the state. The incumbent governor is set to be sworn in for a second term on January 14, 2024.
However, the announcement was not without controversy. The State Agent of the Labour Party, Callistus Ihejiagwa, was reportedly beaten and ejected from the state Collation centre after protesting the results, claiming they were manipulated in favor of the APC candidate. The State Agent of the PDP, Kissinger Ikeokwu, left the collation centre in response.
Despite the objections from PDP and LP, who called for a cancelation of the poll, INEC upheld the results. PDP candidate Samuel Anyanwu alleged rigging in favor of Uzodimma, while LP’s deputy governorship candidate, Tony Nwulu, accused security agents of facilitating the rigging in collaboration with INEC and APC members.